Funny. I know I’m a writer. I know I’m an author. And yet, after years, I still never really felt that I was, in my mind.
Why? I guess it always seemed like this journey was some sort of marathon. And I’ve no training in running. I was going to have to learn from scratch. Wear through a lot of shoes. Further, some of the ways I’ve approached authorship have been unconventional. I therefore believed I would have to run really hard and really far, to prove that I was a real runner. I believed I had to cross some important marker along the way (what that was, I wasn’t sure) before I could really call myself An Author.
This thinking was absurd, of course. But I couldn’t make my stubborn brain accept what it wouldn’t, until it would.
My newest novel Still, will be in readers’ hands shortly (more to come on that soon). But about a week or two ago, while working on edits, I knew. I’d gotten past whatever my imaginary marker was.
This book, it took a piece of my soul with it. And it was genuinely, hard work. I can’t even question myself now. I’m an author.
So as I considered my experience with Still, which will be my 17th title, I decided I wanted to share a bit of my book writing journey with you.
It’s no matter if you are a writer, or not. I think you’ll find my thoughts applicable to anything you have a goal to do.
Your journey may not look at all like mine, nor even your craft, but this is really about inspiration. At my shop The Quill and Brush at the Bristol Renaissance Faire, I meet authors in every step of their journeys. I learn so much from these conversations. So here’s what my experience has been…
I thought I knew the English language well. I was wrong.
Here’s the fact. I LOVE words. I’ve always loved reading, and another great passion of mine was once public speaking. I love hearing how others use words to express a message. I love crafting words to express myself. I love reading words. I love writing words. I’m just nuts about it.
And though I never received any focused education in writing, I thought I understood the English language and the basic spelling of it decently enough.
I was wrong. But it’s so funny! In fact, I laugh at myself all the time.
- I write words that I thought were real. But it seems I made them up.
- I thought I knew what words meant, but am frequently surprised to learn my understanding was incorrect.
- I still have to look up some of the same words, again and again. Like lose vs. loose (even though it’s cemented by now…I think).
- I’ve occasionally gone wild, and yes, printed words in my books that are neither ‘real’ nor ‘perfectly applied’. And I’ll do it again. Because I’m creating art. My art. I can do what I want.
I like reviewing a ‘word of the day’. I find it so hilarious every time! They are always long and complicated-sounding, and I like to first guess what they mean and have a giggle inside when I find out what they actually do. I wouldn’t use even a small percent of these words. But it’s such a delight to learn about them anyway. And they remind me, I still have so much to learn about the English language.
What I know? We always have more to learn about our craft than we thought we did. But that’s what makes the journey awesome!